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Fun Things to Do and See near the Boston Common

Things to do within walking distance to the Boston CommonWhat to see  do near Boston Common and Boston Public Garden

The Public Garden and Boston Common together account for over 70 acres of urban green space.  The parks are full of things to do and see. 

Most notableare surely the Boston Frog Pond or Make Way for Ducklings or the Edgar Allan Poe statue (found just across the street from the Common).   The memorial to the 54th Massachusetts is surely one of the world’s best-known military monuments, well known for it's being featured in the movie 'Glory'.

Boston Common Features

Kids of all ages will delight in the Frog Pond Playground.   Lots of slides and swings and climbing equipment to frolic on, as well as lots of shade and shaded seating for adults.

Right next door, Boston Frog Pond - is a splashy wading pool by summer, ice skating venue by winter Frog pond where families can enjoy some quality time together.  The shack serves hot chocolate, coffee, tea, candy, fish & chips, burgers and more. (Seasonal).

This venue is also located near Downtown Crossing, Charles Street and the Theatre District, so you can enjoy shopping and try some nice food in the restaurants nearby. 

Boston Common Carousel - Adjacent to the Frog Pond, the Carousel is an American masterpiece built by the Chance Morgan Ride Company of Wichita, Kansas.  Join in for a ride with the zany carousel characters. 

The Carousel features a variety of Bradley and Kaye horses, wildlife figures, and a chariot.  An oak floor, beveled glass mirrors, and a standard pie top with a lighted crown all give the Carousel a classic style. 

The Carousel is open to the public seven days a week, from mid-April to October weather permitting.

Parkman Bandstand - a landmark bandstand located on the eastern side of the Boston Common in Boston.  It was built in 1912 and is the site of many local gatherings, protests, and presentations.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common was erected in memory of Massachusetts soldiers and sailors who died in the American Civil War.

Designed by Martin Milmore, construction began in 1874 and the monument was dedicated on September 17, 1877.

Every Memorial Day weekend, the MA Military Heroes organization plants a Military Heroes Garden of Flags in front of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common to commemorate the Massachusetts service members who have given their lives to defend the United States and our freedom.  

Located at the corner of Park Street and Tremont Street at the eastern edge of Boston Common, Park Street Station is one  of the T’s two oldest subway stations—the other being Boylston Street, which also opened in 1897. Boston's T is also the oldest subway system in the country.

aerial photo credit: Gray Malin

There is lots of open green space to take advantage of, both in the sunshine and in the shade.  It's a great place to stroll, and people watch, or to toss a ball or a frisbee around. 

photo credit: BostonCentral

The Embrace, Boston's bronze sculpture installment on the Common, honors the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a representation of a hug between he and his wife Coretta Scott King, celebrating their history in Boston.

The memorial was created by artist Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group. It aims to spark a public conversation on advancing racial and social justice in Boston today.

The Embrace boston common MLK Martin Luther King Junior Memorial

photo credit: Jack Daryl Photography @jackdaryl

Central Burying Ground was established to alleviate overcrowding at King's Chapel, Copp's Hill and Granary Burying Grounds. Acquired from Andrew Oliver, Jr., the site was formerly a portion of Colonel Fitch's pasture at the bottom of the Boston Common. Bostonians considered this burial ground the least desirable because it was the farthest from the market center of the town.

Just across Charles Street, you will enter Boston Public Garden, a space filled with beautiful trees, plantings, sculptures, fountains and, of course, the swan boat lagoon.

Boston Public Garden is oldest public park in the country, with relaxing swan boat rides in the park's lagoon.  Each swan holds 20 people and rides lasts about 12-15 minutes while the driver pedals you around the Public Garden lagoon. 

One of the more famous sculptures are the Boston Ducklings - based on the well-loved children's book called Make Way for Ducklings. 

Installed in 1987, Nancy Schön's magical bronze sculpture of Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, & Quack has since been one of the most popular Boston attractions for kids.

Here's a spectacular aerial view of the Boston Public Garden and the bridge over the swan lagoon.  To the left you can see the famous George Washington statue.

boston public garden aerial

aerial photo credit: Gray Malin

Springtime is a spectacular time to visit the Boston Public Garden to see a multitude of beautiful blooming tulips.  The trees are all starting to flower and bright green leaf buds announce the coming of warmer weather. 

photo credit: Ben Edwards

This is Good Will Hunting bench in the Boston Public Garden on a rainy afternoon.   The bench is not the original bench,  but it is in the exact spot where Robin Williams and Matt Damon sat in the iconic scene from the film.

boston public garden good will hunting bench

photo credit: Ben Edwards

Any time of year is a good time to visit the Garden, but summer and fall are really spectacular to enjoy the color and splendor of the plantings and foliage.  
Boston Public Garden

photo credit: Ben Edwards

Just take a stroll, or grab a bench and take it all in.

There are so many more fun things to do in Boston - check out our Boston Events Calendar for ideas on specific events, or if you are looking for a deal, check out our popular article about free things to do in Boston!  
stacey sao
Stacey Sao has been the Managing Director of the family-friendly events and activities website, BostonCentral for almost 20 years.  She continues to enjoy discovering and exploring new places to visit in the Greater Boston area.  World's End is one of her new favorites.